Peace Portal Alliance Church, at the corner of King George Boulevard and 152 Street, is the extreme-weather shelter for South Surrey for the upcoming season. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Peace Portal Alliance Church, at the corner of King George Boulevard and 152 Street, is the extreme-weather shelter for South Surrey for the upcoming season. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Cold snap causes concern for South Surrey homeless population

Shelters are running at capacity, COVID-19 restrictions adding stress to system

As the mercury drops, concerns are being raised for the homeless population who might have no option but to sleep outside.

This week is to be one of the coldest of the season thus far, with overnight temperatures expected to drop to a low of -8C and continue to fall below freezing overnight until Saturday.

Options Community Services senior program manager Bruce Strom said space in emergency shelters is limited. In two of the last five days, Strom said, more than 50 clients showed up for service at the Peace Portal Alliance Church extreme-weather shelter. The facility only has space for 20 people.

“But we don’t turn everybody away without at least providing some services to them like food, let them use the washrooms, showers if it’s really necessary. Even without the cold snap, we’re already pretty much running at capacity, as are most of the other temporary shelters in the Surrey/Delta area,” Strom said Tuesday.

SEE ALSO: ‘It’s not a surprise’: Surrey’s extreme weather shelter coordinator ‘desperate’ for spaces

Strom said once the shelter reaches capacity, staff contact other locations in the city to see if there are any beds available. Options staff also provide bus tickets to people to help them get to a shelter that has space.

“Sometimes there are beds here and there, but of course during this cold snap, we’re likely to see that not be an option. Most of the beds are going to be taken up pretty quickly each evening.”

Another issue for people trying to find a warm, dry place to sleep is that shelters are running at reduced capacity. Physical distancing measures have also been put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That adds a whole bunch of extra challenges because it means less people being able to access services throughout the Fraser Valley,” Strom said.

Not only does the cold snap cause concern for the homeless population overnight, but the City of Surrey lacks places for people to keep warm during the day, Strom said.

“Our emergency shelters are set up through the night so then, come the morning, the doors close…. People are then out on the street in whatever minus degree weather it is,” Strom said.

“They used to be able to go to libraries and rec centres and places like that. Those options aren’t available for people now, so I’m really concerned about what’s going to happen through this cold snap.”



aaron.hinks@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

HomelessSurreyWhite Rock

Just Posted

Surrey city Councillor Brenda Locke. (File photo)
Locke seeks breakdown on what Surreyites get for taxes paid to Metro Vancouver

Surrey councillor aims to present motion to council tonight (Monday, June 14) asking city staff to do a cost/benefit analysis

Surrey council chambers. (File photo)
Surrey council to consider ‘public engagement’ strategies tonight

Council asked to endorse ‘Public Engagement Strategy and Toolkit,’ and a ‘Big Vision, Bold Moves’ transportation public engagement plan

Old trucks are seen in the yard at the B.C. Vintage Truck Museum in Cloverdale June 14, 2021. The Museum is reopening June 19 after a seven-month COVID closure. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Cloverdale’s truck museum to reopen

B.C. Vintage Truck Museum set to open its doors June 19

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
Surrey council to consider $7.3 million contract for street paving projects tonight

A city staff report recommends Lafarge Canada Inc. be awarded $7,326,667.95 for 15 road projects in North Surrey and one in South Surrey

The City of White Rock wants input from residents and businesses on parking practices and regulations in the city. (File photo)
Input sought for White Rock parking survey(double-click to edit)

City to develop new strategy based on data and best practices

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Most Read